G1 "liquid metal" faces intentional or shortcut?

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by SentinelPrime, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. SentinelPrime

    SentinelPrime I NEEDED THAT!

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    Helllllo! I'm chillin' after work, with no one to talk to about this stuff, so I thought I''d make a couple of threads. Just had a couple of things to bounce around...

    After watching (and loving) TF Prime, I reflected a bit on Liquid Metal faces, and how different the concept appears when illustrated in CGI vs cell animation.

    I don't think it was ever intentional to have the G1 faces be "liquid metal". I don't think the artists/editors ever sat down and decided that detail.

    I think the point was they had silver faces, they are robots. They didn't have the budget or take the time to draw panel lines around the jaw, or illustrate that the faces were made of smaller panels for expression. Plus, it was "for kids" so silver faces were fine for the purpose. "Liquid metal" was not a factor design-wise at the time, that I'm sure of. Silver face = robot

    Now, we have TF P coming full circle and like lots of TF animation uses the G1 facial look, but, in CGI it looks totally different. It doesn't just look like an animation shortcut, it actually looks like liquid metal, which looks really strange in CGI, although I grew up in the 80s watching G1! (disclaimer: Beast Wars also had CGI liquid faces but I didn't start watching Beast Wars until recently...ps...its good)

    I suppose that brings up the idea that the animators were drawing them like that because the toy's faces looked like that, but, again, I think the toys faces were smooth like that for the very same reason. Silver face = robot...good enough. Again, I don't think the toy designers sat down in like 1978 or whenever the Diaclone toys were first designed and said "these robots have faces that are like liquid metal". Budget. Toys. Silver face = robot.

    And now, so many years later, we have shows that are illustrating liquid metal faces for TFs intentionally. It's now a design trait. (other than the films)

    So, what are thoughts? Intentional or shortcut back in the day?
     
  2. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    To me it was never liquid metal and I never cared for that. But I disliked how Transformers looked in Marvel comics, where they looked really human and even had teeth.
     
  3. Driftx3

    Driftx3 lord of all things robot

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    A TF is essentially a liquid quantum unstable metal that is inside it's own subspace force field. This explains protoforms, and it explains mass shift, as well, in a round about way, the ability to use a Space Bridge and Transwarp.
     
  4. nemisispringer

    nemisispringer Well-Known Member

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    Thats a pretty cool concept/ explanation
     
  5. Murasame

    Murasame CHIMICHANGAS

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    Could make sense!
     
  6. Driftx3

    Driftx3 lord of all things robot

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    It's just a theory, but it's what I told my stepson, damn kids expect explanations for everything....
     
  7. Auto Morph

    Auto Morph Gimmick Bot

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    ^ It would also explain how reformatting works, a la 'More than Meets the Eye' when Teletraan 1 gives them all new alt modes through the power of... a beam of light :sly: 

    In G1, I really liked the way the faces looked in the cartoon. They never sacrificed the robot-ness (?) of the look whilst allowing them to be expressive. The '86 movie really captures this IMO.

    Also, I agree that in the Marvel comics, it did bug me how human-like their faces were. Although, from what I've heard over the years, a lot of the artists back then didn't like drawing robots and found any way they could to make the TFs less robotic and more human. It wasn't uncommon for things like muscle, teeth and sweat/saliva to be visible in a lot of the work. I recall Andrew Wildman in Q&A at Auto Assembly a couple of years ago openly admitting that he hated drawing Transformers and was never really 'into' it, hence he constantly rebelled and draw the characters with as many human traits as possible.

    That's why I always LOVED Geoff Senior's work as it was a lot of straight lines, which it should be for robots, IMO.

    If you look at some of the later issues, you will actually see that Optimus Prime was often drawn with a mouth shape on his faceplate (LAM movie GI Joe Snake Eyes-esque), as if the faceplate was a fabric covering a mouth underneath. That always bugged me too.
     
  8. Bathawk

    Bathawk Well-Known Member

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    I always figured it was...what do marvel comics call it? "microtesselated chainmail" like Iron Man....it's really metal "links" just too small to see...kind of like how your skin cells are composed of "too small for the eye to see components"
     
  9. SMOG

    SMOG Vocab-champion ArgueTitan

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    Yeah, except... that completely undermines the whole basic MECHANICAL aspect of Transformers. Liquid metal and "nanotech" are just fantasy technobabble concepts dredged up to explain things that Transformers were never really supposed to do in the first place, like magic healing and reformatting, which were "inconvenient" from an animation or writing standpoint.

    Transformers are machine-people. They're made of cogs and wires and hoses and pistons and processors. Nanotech and liquid metal are not concepts that really existed in the popular imagination in 1984. Trying to force these concepts on TFs creates other internal discrepancies. It flies in the face of everything the G1 bios taught us about TF mechanical biology, and raises the question of why they don't change forms all the time. Why do they even look like machines, if they can basically "morph" however they wish.

    In essence, the more you apply an "organic" model onto TF's, the less distinct and like Transformers they become.

    I'm tired of the super-science explanations. Before Terminator 2, nobody knew what "liquid metal" was... why can't Transformers just be oldschool "robots" anymore? Why are we always trying to steal that from them and make them into something else?

    As for the faces... well, for the above reason, obviously they were never intended to be "liquid metal"... not in Diaclone and not in '84. If you go back to Diaclone, their faces probably weren't even designed to move, much less show a range of emotion. After all, they were only vehicles, piloted by the smaller Diaclone figures. The faces, like those on most other super robots, were just for show... a frozen mask of serenity (or dull surprise).

    Obviously when Hasbro debuted their new line, that concept went out the window. I like the way EJ Su draws TF faces... they look traditional, but you still see the facets and the moveable plates that make up the face, without it looking like a pile of broken glass like DON's new G1 faces.

    The other way to look at it is that it's simply a stylization thing. Comics and animation are a simplified, stylized medium by nature, so why do we need those extra details even?

    zmog
     
  10. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    "G1 "liquid metal" faces intentional or shortcut?"

    Hand animated economical shortcut
     
  11. shroobmaster

    shroobmaster Well-Known Member

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    They just copied the faces from the toys, that's it.

    It's all a matter of art direction and intentional, just like Bayformers uses segmented faces as a design direction G1 uses gray human faces as design direction.
     
  12. Alienbot

    Alienbot Well-Known Member

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    Actually the cartoon designs are rather anthromorphic compared to the toys: just compare all the 1984 mini-car faces to their animated counterparts: Movie Bumblebee's face is probably a more faithful depiction of that toy.

    This leads to a bit of unitentional brilliance in the Marvel Comics: the Bots started looking very much like their toys, and looked more human with each issue, indicating they changed their faces to be more approachable to the humans.
     
  13. nemisispringer

    nemisispringer Well-Known Member

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    This is also a really good point im really stuck as to where i stand on this one but i like the microscopic interlinked chains idea that mimics human skin and it also makes more sense in the fact they have to be rebuilt reformated and repaired
     
  14. Honorbound

    Honorbound The Reclusive Semi-Lurker

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    The microscopic chain links idea is brilliant - it allows a Transformer's face to flex into a smile or a frown without going into flexible metal (I don't consider the faces to be liquid metal, since it still retains a relatively constant shape. Flex-metal is more accurate in my opinion), thus avoiding the question of why the entire Transformer isn't constructed from flexible metal.

    As for nanobots, I think that they are a self-repair system, like platelets. They don't correspond to cells at all - they are tiny mechanics, rebuilding the metal and other parts to the best of their ability.
     
  15. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Dry built

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    I prefer flexible metal to liquid metal, too, at least when it comes to faces. Beast Wars characters were comprised entirely of it, not just the faces, but most of their faces were still made of multiple parts. (Like Dinobot or Cheetor's face)

    But, protoforms in that series are depicted as being liquid metal during reformatting. So who knows.
     
  16. Hot Shot.

    Hot Shot. Giving up on the fiction.

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    One could always say the liquid-metal protoforms were the result of post-war advances in technology, which settles into flex-metal/micro-chainmail.


    At least that's what I like to think.
     
  17. G1_Cindersaur

    G1_Cindersaur Banned

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    hey if a autobot computer system can run with it...Michael bay will run with it too...Bee did it when he "upgraded" after megan fox called him a piece of shit camaro...
     
  18. KWFlange

    KWFlange You're So Jelly

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    I think there are two things that need to be taken into account here...

    1. They are robotic organisms Since they are not from earth or made from our metals they don't have to follow our rules. I can't remember if they were made out of cybertronium (sp?) or if it was simply part of them, but regardless the metal their faces were made of could simply be flexible...lead is after all. To look at the animating budget is a waste of time as I can assure you no one ever thought "We could draw extra lines on their faces to make them look more robotic...but lets not because it is too expensive."

    2. Some of what we see as their altmode is a hologram which makes them appear more like our vehicles than they would otherwise. So maybe this is also how they appear to move their mouths...it would certainly be less scary for a more humanoid robot to be towering over you than one which had a solid expressionless face.
     
  19. DeathsHead

    DeathsHead Well-Known Member

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    I love your posts SMOG. They generally manage to impart everything I would like to say, except I lack the wit and grammatical skill to do so in anything like an adequate way.

    *stops kissing arse*
     
  20. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Ratchet, Ironhide, Huffer, Windcharger, Bumblebee, Brawn, Gears, Trailbreaker, Beachcomber, Tracks, and Perceptor (among others) would beg to differ.

    Murasame also mentioned the Marvel Comics, and I completely agree. By the time Wildman took over, it had gotten to the point that TFs were slobbering all over the place as well.

    Mouths are much easier to make a cartoon character emote, plain and simple.
     

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